Statement by the co-penholders for the Syria humanitarian file – Germany and Belgium – following the extension of the cross-border resolution on Syria, July 11, 2020

11.07.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

It is the duty of the Security Council to address the gravest humanitarian crises. As co-penholders, Belgium and Germany are relieved that a compromise has been reached to ensure cross-border access in northwest Syria. We have voted together with the overwhelming majority of the Security Council in favor of this compromise.

This access is a lifeline for millions of people. The UN organizations could not have been clearer: this lifeline is indispensable. With COVID-19 threatening refugee camps filled with 2.8 million internally displaced people, humanitarian access is not an option, it is a necessity.

One border crossing is not enough, but no border crossings would have left the fate of an entire region in question.

We have negotiated morning till night with Russia and China – who have argued and have underpinned with their votes this week that this single crossing could serve more than 80% of humanitarian need. This argument clearly puts aside humanitarian considerations and ignores the needs of hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

We cannot and should not underestimate the needs on the ground in Syria. As we have said from day one, we would vote for as many border crossings as possible. We are convinced that the majority of Security Council members would do the same. 

Our best path forward is to keep this mechanism alive for the next year. We cannot abandon northwest Syria.

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